Lakefront Anchorage Hotel owners dropping Iditarod sponsorship after nearly 30 years
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Millennium Hotels and Resorts, the owner of the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel, announced in a press release Wednesday it is dropping its sponsorship of the Iditarod sled dog race following this year’s event.
The Lakefront hotel has been the traditional headquarters of the race “for nearly 30 years,” according to the release, but had to cut its Iditarod funding due to financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This decision was not taken lightly,” John Bruce, the hotel’s general manager, said in the release. “We are grateful and appreciative of the business it has generated for the hotel over the years.
“Unfortunately the conditions the global pandemic have brought about and the economic impact that has come with it, have made it financially non-viable for the hotel to continue sponsoring the event.”
With the race less than a month away, Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach said they’re focused on the 2022 race and not the Lakefront’s recent announcement.
“It’s really not even a blip for us right now,” Urbach said over Zoom on Wednesday. “...It’s something that we are not going to put a second into until well after this year’s race.”
Urbach added that the Iditarod has taken on five new sponsors heading into this year’s race including Hilcorp, Harvest Midstream, Lynden, ANR industries, Greenbrook and Nutanix.
A longtime critic of the race, animal’s rights group PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, released a statement today outlining their recent campaign and protests around the world to get sponsors to back away from the race.
“Champagne corks are popping around the world at the news that Millennium Hotels and Resorts is checking out of the Iditarod’s cruelty to dogs,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a release.
The Lakefront’s general manager John Bruce told Alaska’s News Source that PETA did not play a factor in their decision to stop sponsoring the race.
Millennium Hotels and Resorts is a resort and hospitality company with headquarters in London and Singapore. The company purchased the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel in 2001, and is considered to be a “lead dog partner” of the Iditarod, according to the event’s website, just one rung below the top sponsors of the race.
The company said in the release there was never a direct sponsorship of the Iditarod by Millennium Hotels, but rather through a local agreement with the Lakefront hotel.
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